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Here to Help

Screen hosted a press conference with The Help leading ladies Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis during the Zurich Film Festival.

The Zurich Film Festival closed in style yesterday with a screening of Oscar hopeful The Help, attended by its director Tate Taylor and stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.

Earlier in the day, I hosted the film’s press conference for Disney, where the three leading ladies and director were on fine form, chatting about their stifling summer shoot in Mississippi, the responsibility of adapting such a well loved book, and why they believe the film - which Disney is rolling out internationally over the next few months - will resonate around the world as much as it has done in the US, where it has taken $160m to date. It certainly resonated with me - I was a blubbering wreck by the end.

It was a fitting end to the festival, which attracted more stars and higher-profile films than ever before.

Highlights included masterclasses with Oscar winning screenwriter/director Paul Haggis (Crash) and acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Amores Perros, Biutiful), who both talked eloquently - and candidly - about their careers to date.

Both directors admitted that the key to their film-making was feeling “uncomfortable” about their work. “If I’m really comfortable with something I know I shouldn’t be making the movie,” said Haggis, adding: “I’m only happy when I’m miserable.”

Meanwhile, Haggis said he was very much enjoying the Zurich Film Festival, not least because of the high percentage of beautiful people in the city. “This city has some of the best looking people I’ve seen in the world, both men and women. I hate most of you.”

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